Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2021-01

Common name:

Chestnut-collared Longspur  

Scientific name: Calcarius ornatus
Date: January 3, 2021
Time: 12:15 pm
Length of time observed: < 30 seconds
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: Golden Spike National Historical Sight
County: Box Elders
Distance to bird: ~90 yards
Optical equipment: 80mm Vortex Razor Spotting Scope & Canon sx60hs camera.
Weather: Overcast
Light Conditions: Flat
Description:        Size of bird: ~5.5
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Sparrow
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Light brown
(Description:)            Bill Type: Finch/sparrow
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
The first thing I noticed was the overall dark breast when compared with the Horned Larks. Upon closer examination, I noticed the upper chest was much darker and faded as it went towards belly. Facial pattern was brownish overall with a linear marking from rear of eye to ear. Unfortunately, I was unable to see a tail pattern or notice the coverts prior to flying off. The bill appears large in the very poor photo, but I feel this is an artifact as I didn t notice it in the brief time I observed it.
(see photo)
Song or call & method of delivery: N/A
Behavior: Resting on an open snowfield mixed in with hundreds of Horned Larks, a Snow Bunting, and a few other longspur species.
Habitat: Open snowfield that covered some sort of stubble wheatgrass agricultural field.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The darker breast and belly would eliminate Thick-billed and Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Bunting. The very dark upper breast would eliminate Smith s and Lapland Longspur, and Snow Bunting.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Have only observed this species in breeding plumage on their Summer grounds in Wyoming. However, other than Smith s Longspur, I ve observed the other comparable species extensively in breeding and non breeding plumages and this individual stood out as very different from other Winter plumaged species.
References consulted: Sibley, Macaulay Library.
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Mike Hearell
Observer's address: North Ogden
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: N/A
Date prepared: 1-6-2021
Additional material: Photo
Additional comments: Very poor photo was the only one prior to bird flying off. There were thousands of HOLA present and the CCLO wasn t the only species I was unable to find again.